Music in the 1960s

1960s music is an era filled with exploring new possibilities. 

Judy (Magin) Dogeagle is 1969 alumni who took part in choir during her time at Puyallup High School. Now she currently works as a Resource Special Education Teacher at PHS to help students improve in their classes.  

“Music has been one of creativity and innovation,” Dogeagle said. 

The 1960s were a part of the decades where exploring different genres of music began. Young people of this era were introduced to the creation of new genres like R&B and Rock and Roll. Music artists began to explore further of what they could do with music. Protest music was created to spread messages and promote change. Even the British Invasion came along. The song “Black bird” by The Beatles was about racial tensions in the U.S.  

“A lot of changes were happening in the ‘60s,” Dogeagle said. 

There was a large amount of diversity in the ‘60s, even bringing along the Civil Rights Movement.  

There were also other events like the Women’s Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.  

This introduced people to Protest Music. It didn’t have a certain kind of rhythm or beat to it. Instead, Protest music gave people a voice for what they believed in through music. “Revolution” by the Beatles is a protest song that included themes about anti-war and nonviolence. 

“With the British Invasion you had the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and all of those groups,” Dogeagle said. 

During the ‘60s music era, the British Invasion took place. British music groups started to become popular in the United States. The Rolling Stones and the Beatles were included in the British Invasion. The Beatles experimented with different instruments and rhythms, while the Rolling Stones spoke about topics that others would avoid talking about through music.  

“Americans still had Elvis, and those kinds of performers that were home-grown if you want to say,” Dogeagle said. 

Even if the British Invasion brought a lot of bands and artists, they still had American based artists such as Elvis, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Ben E. King and many more. These artists along with the British influenced future artists, letting them become more open to talk about certain topics and gave inspiration for more artists to come. 

 “The thing about music is, every single generation, doesn’t matter whether it was the Jazz Age, or whether it was Rock-N-Roll or whether it was today. It just seems like older people didn’t like what younger people liked,” Dogeagle said. 

At the beginning not everyone viewed Rock n’ Roll as music. Rock heard by the older generation of that time was considered loud. The 1960’s brought new genres of music and made certain genres popular again. Lots of experiments took place in music during this period and transformed music into an Art form. The Beatles were a group that couldn’t decide on just one music genre.  

“I liked folk songs, but I also liked Rock n’ Roll, so you know, there was quite a variety,” Dogeagle said. 

Folk music and Rock n’ Roll music had bands such as the Beach Boys, and other larger groups. Folk music had a calm tone like Protest Music. Sometimes listening to some of the folk-rock lyrics, you could identify protest messages. Rock music in the 60s however had been delayed with lots of music artists having sudden events hit them such as Elvis’ military career or the blacklisting of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis.